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Fertility-dependent effects of ectomycorrhizal fungal communities on white spruce seedling nutrition

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Smith, Alistair J. H.; Potvin, Lynette R.; Lilleskov, Erik A.

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Mycorrhiza. 25(8): 649-662.


Ectomycorrhizal fungi (EcMF) typically colonize nursery seedlings, but nutritional and growth effects of these communities are only partly understood. To examine these effects, Picea glauca seedlings collected from a tree nursery naturally colonized by three dominant EcMF were divided between fertilized and unfertilized treatments. After one growing season seedlings were harvested, ectomycorrhizas identified using DNA sequencing, and seedlings analyzed for leaf nutrient concentration and content, and biomass parameters. EcMF community structure–nutrient interactions were tested using nonmetric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) combined with vector analysis of foliar nutrients and biomass. We identified three dominant species: Amphinema sp., Atheliaceae sp., and Thelephora terrestris. NMDS+envfit revealed significant community effects on seedling nutrition that differed with fertilization treatment. PERM ANOVA and regression analyses uncovered significant species effects on host nutrient concentration, content, and stoichiometry. Amphinema sp. had a significant positive effect on phosphorus (P), calcium and zinc concentration, and P content; in contrast, T. terrestris had a negative effect on P concentration. In the unfertilized treatment, percent abundance of the Amphinema sp. negatively affected foliar nitrogen (N) concentration but not content, and reduced foliar N/P. In fertilized seedlings, Amphinema sp. was positively related to foliar concentrations of N, magnesium, and boron, and both concentration and content of manganese, and Atheliaceae sp. had a negative relationship with P content. Findings shed light on the community and species effects on seedling condition, revealing clear functional differences among dominants. The approach used should be scalable to explore function in more complex communities composed of unculturable EcMF.


Stoichiometry; Ectomycorrhizal fungal community effects; Nitrogen; Phosphorus; Micronutrients;Amphinema; Atheliaceae; Thelephora terrestris;Greenhouse


Smith, Alistair J.H.; Potvin, Lynette R.; Lilleskov, Erik A. 2015. Fertility-dependent effects of ectomycorrhizal fungal communities on white spruce seedling nutrition. Mycorrhiza. 25(8): 649-662.

Last updated on: September 21, 2016